130 Years of Chris Craft Boating History

February 25, 2013 

Chris-Craft marks 130 years of boating history

1874 -- Chris-Craft starts in Algonac, Mich. It was here that Christopher Columbus Smith built his first boat in 1874 at age 13. These Smith-built boats were referred to as "punts" or "skiffs." With his reputation as a master boat builder on the grow, Smith joins with his brother Hank in 1881 to begin producing boats full time.

1927 -- Chris-Craft is recognized as world's largest builder of mahogany-constructed power boats. Jay Smith, Chris Smith's son, is appointed president and general manager, a position he holds for the next 31 years before his retirement.

1935 -- Feeling the effects of the Depression, sales weaken tremendously. The line is narrowed, and the company goes back to the basics of building runabouts.

1941 -- Chris-Craft begins building patrol boats, utility launches, and rescue vessels for the U.S. Navy and Army (12,000 military vessels by 1945).

1971 -- Chris-Craft builds its last mahogany boat ­-- a 57-foot Constellation, completing the transition to fiberglass products.

1989 -- Outboard Marine Corp. purchases Chris-Craft Boats.

2000 -- Outboard Marine Corp. files Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and Chris-Craft operations are put on hold.

2001 -- Chris-Craft is purchased by investment group Stellican Ltd. Operations resume, and the new owners reveal plans for the future with the introduction of three new Heritage models and a 43-foot Roamer Yacht.

2002 -- Chris-Craft unveils plans for two cuddy models on the Launch hulls and larger models up to 60 feet.

2004 -- Chris-Craft celebrates its 130th anniversary.

-- Stephen Frater

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service